14-10 loss to Georgetown stunts Loyola's growth

Young 'Hounds fall to 3-5 as mistakes take their toll

College Lacrosse

April 18, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

There were glimpses of progress for the Loyola men's lacrosse team yesterday.

Freshman midfielder Andrew Spack picked up a ground ball at the defensive end and sprinted 50 yards before firing a shot over the shoulder of Georgetown's Rich D'Andrea.

Spack's classmate, Greg Leonard, beat his defender on two straight possessions to get the Greyhounds within two goals of the Hoyas early in the third quarter.

But those moments were ultimately overshadowed by a slew of turnovers and other mental miscues as Loyola showed its youth in falling, 14-10, to No. 7 Georgetown on a sunny afternoon at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field.

Looking to strengthen their NCAA tournament chances against a team that will become an Eastern College Athletic Conference rival next spring, the Greyhounds (3-5) instead dropped two games under .500 for the first time since 1983, Dave Cottle's first year at Loyola.

After building a 23-1 lead in the series with Georgetown, Loyola has lost three straight to the Hoyas by a total of 22 goals, but perhaps more importantly, has left itself with little margin of error the rest of the way.

Even with solid victories over Towson and Notre Dame, two top-15 ranked teams, the Greyhounds may need to win their last four games to make their first postseason since 2001.

"We're young, but that's not an excuse," said Leonard, one of five freshmen on the Greyhounds' first two midfield lines. "We just made too many mistakes from the beginning. We're all mature now and have been playing together long enough. We need to come together as a team."

Georgetown (7-2) got balanced scoring - four goals from attackman Sean Denihan, three from midfielder Nick Miaritis and two goals and an assist from senior midfielder Walid Hajj - but the Hoyas' biggest weapon was their faceoff man, junior Andy Corno.

Corno, the nation's leading faceoff man at 68 percent, returned from a hamstring injury to win 13 of 21 draws, but his timing was impeccable.

Anytime the Hoyas needed the ball to start a run or to stop a Loyola spurt, Corno, dealing primarily with Spack and fellow freshman Matt Cassalia, got it for them.

He won the game's first four faceoffs, and the Hoyas parlayed them into a 3-0 lead.

"When they scored, we panicked a little bit," said Greyhounds coach Bill Dirrigl, whose team got a goal and a career-high four assists from senior attackman Stephen Brundage. "Our kids tried to make plays and hit home runs every single time we touched the ball."

The Hoyas' lead expanded to 9-3 with three straight goals - two off Neil Goldman assists - in a 27-second span against Greyhounds goalie Mike Fretwell (13 saves).

"We knew they were a young group, so our game plan was to stick it to them early and try to get in their heads," Miaritis said.

Loyola settled down and sandwiched a four-goal run around halftime to cut it to 9-7 at the 9:56 mark of the third quarter.

However, down 13-9 with 5:35 to play, Loyola threw the ball away, wasting a crucial extra-man opportunity.

Georgetown 4 5 2 3 - 14 Loyola 2 3 3 2 - 10

Goals: G-Denihan 4, Miaritis 3, Hajj 2, Casey, Trice, Wilson, Queener, Schroeder; L-Leonard 2, Spack 2, Georgalas 2, Brundage, Monfett, Coffman, Kennedy. Assists: G-Goldman 3, Casey, Hajj, Lukens; L-Brundage 4, Small. Saves: G-D'Andrea 7; L-Fretwell 13, Glazer 0.

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